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The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys are boosting Indigenous employment and training initiatives at the world-class Amrun bauxite project in Far North Queensland through a new partnership with Rio Tinto.

Former Cowboys, Queensland and Australian rugby league player and now Amrun Project Ambassador Matt Bowen launched the initiative earlier this week, participating in an Amrun site visit to meet employees, joining a recruitment roadshow for the project in Aurukun and visiting students at Aurukun State School.

“Having grown up in Far North Queensland I’m excited to have the opportunity to give back to local Indigenous communities in a meaningful way," Matt said.

“It’s great that Rio Tinto have chosen to partner with the Cowboys, using the sport of rugby league to benefit the Indigenous community in the region, across all ages. The project offers an exciting opportunity that can really help local Indigenous people in Cape York kick start their careers and gain valuable experience.” 

The Cowboys will provide mentoring support to Indigenous staff across the project and actively support the Amrun Project’s initiatives on site and in Western Cape York communities.

To help build the future workforce in Aurukun, the Cowboys will also run their Try for 5! program at Aurukun State School to encourage student attendance and minimise the social impact created by missing foundation learning in the years of primary schooling.

Ministerial Champion for Aurukun Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt visited the community with Matt in June last year.

“Having grown up in Hope Vale, Matt has a special connection with Cape York and I know his last visit was an enormous morale booster,” Mr Pitt said.

“He has already proven himself a great mentor that local kids can relate to, playing footy with them and encouraging them to stay in school.

“I commend Rio Tinto for their corporate leadership in supporting Indigenous employment and training at their Amrun bauxite project.”

Queensland Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Mark Furner also welcomed the initiative.

“This is an excellent example of business and sport working in partnership to help Close the Gap on employment and health outcomes in Indigenous communities," Mr Furner said.

“It demonstrates the good outcomes that can be achieved by working together.”

Amrun project director Marcia Hanrahan said: “We are excited to develop talent from our Indigenous communities from school age until they enter the workforce."

“The Cowboys was a natural partnership, we share many of the same values and determination to succeed.

“I have no doubt our combined expertise will see a great improvement in employment and training opportunities for local Indigenous people over the life of the Amrun project.”

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.